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PayPal launches service to allow customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrency appears to be here to stay as companies increasingly move toward using it

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Photo (c) laremenko - Getty Images
Cryptocurrencies have stuck another toe in the mainstream way of life. PayPal has announced that it’s allowing all users in the U.S. to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrency by using their PayPal account.

The company says the move was driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing interest in digital currencies from both consumers and banks. This is apparently not a test case scenario, either. PayPal says it will make digital currency available as a funding source for purchases at its 26 million merchants worldwide.

"The shift to digital forms of currencies is inevitable, bringing with it clear advantages in terms of financial inclusion and access; efficiency, speed and resilience of the payments system; and the ability for governments to disburse funds to citizens quickly," said Dan Schulman, president and CEO, PayPal. 

Initially, PayPal users will have access to Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin, and all available within the PayPal digital wallet. The company says it plans to expand the features to Venmo in the first half of 2021.

Is the world really moving toward cryptocurrency?

PayPal says it’s not jumping in the digital money game sight unseen. Company officials say they have been exploring and investing in the next generation of digital financial services for the last five years.

The clock is ticking for those among us who aren’t yet familiar with digital currencies. Facebook has decided that it wants part of the action, millennials have shown interest in it for years, and 1 in 10 central banks – which accounts for about one-fifth of the world's population – expect to issue their own digital currencies within the next three years, according to a survey by the Bank for International Settlements.

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